Former Wales estate workers protested again today, but this time in front of the Ministry of Presidency (MOTP) highlighting that it is unreasonable that since the closure of the Wales Estate in December, they haven’t yet been paid their severances.
This follows a five-day picket action in front of the Wales estate last week over the same issue.
The workers paraded up and down in front of the Ministry chanting “We need we severance pay!” They are contending that since they have refused to work at the Uitvlugt estate, the Government is dragging their feet to give them what they rightly deserve- their severance pay.
Many of the Estate workers told Inews that they feel this is the Administration’s way of forcing them to take the transfer, however, they asserted that it is highly unreasonable since the Uitvlugt Estate is some 22 miles away.
“The distance too far! You think is joke fuh we ga travel 44 miles every day? Wa da gon do to be body? We gon get bruk up!” one worker said.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had noted in a released statement that the Uitvlugt Estate is being upgraded to increase its production from 20,000 to 40,000 tonnes of sugar annually. On this basis, the Corporation reiterated its demand for labour.
“With this demand for labour at the Uitvlugt Estate and the transitioning of the Wales Estate out of sugar production, as well as the pleas from almost all sectors, the Corporation sought to explore the possibility of retaining the cane harvesters and cane transport employees at Wales Estate. It should be noted that the employees from both categories will be transported to Uitvlugt Estate on a daily basis,” GuySuCo added.
GuySuCo had concluded that the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) “is not interested in the well–being of our employees, rather their thrust is more about self-preservation, keeping GAWU in business.”
The workers last week said they have had enough of the uncertainty over their owed payments and reiterated their rejection to being transferred.
It was after GuySuCo’s meeting with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), some two weeks ago, that the Sugar Corporation disclosed to the public that there is a demand for labour at the Uitvlugt Estate. According to the workers, they were subsequently informed that the Union had agreed for employees to be transferred to Uitvlugt, but GAWU denied that it ever made any such agreement.